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April 2015 E-News!
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The Search is On and the Deadline Fast Approaching! April 17, 2015 is the deadline to submit an application for


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                                  »In This Issue

Message from the Chair

Message from the CEO

Class XXVIII Visits Guymon

Community Support

YLOK 2015 Class

Did You Know?

LOK Ambassadors

Cushing Member Event

Deadlines & Upcoming Events

Save the Date!/Fall Forum

Leaders on the Move

Member Updates


»Message from the Chair

Bruce Benbrook, LOK Chair

It is an exciting time for Leadership Oklahoma. Class XXVIII just completed their agriculture session in Guymon, and look forward to their economic development session and graduation in Enid the weekend of May 1st.

The applications are in for Class XXIX, and I know another outstanding group will be selected for next year’s class. Thank you to all who recruited and helped make sure that we had another great pool of applicants.

Thank you to everyone who made the Cushing session on “The Center of America’s Energy Hub and Its Global Impact” a huge success. All who attended left with a better understanding of the importance that Cushing plays in the world energy markets. It was an informative and effective session in every respect.

The process is underway to find a new CEO for LOK. The search firm, Schnake Turnbo Frank, has been hired to lead the process. We are hoping to have a new CEO to continue the LOK tradition of excellence in place by June 1st.

On Friday evening, June 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., a reception will be held at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club to honor Ann and thank her for the fantastic job she has done leading LOK for the past 9 ½ years. I look forward to seeing you that evening as we celebrate with Ann.

As always, a big thank you to all who volunteer their time to make Leadership Oklahoma the best it can be. You are appreciated.

Bruce T. Benbrook
Leadership Oklahoma

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»Message From the CEO

Ann Ackerman, LOK CEOWith Class XXVIII graduating soon and with Class XXIX being selected in a few weeks, I have been thinking about what LOK has meant to me and what impact it has had on our communities and our state. I have been asking LOK graduates and the current class to also reflect on this. Here are a few examples of the responses that I have received:

• “I have been intrigued by the many problems facing the state in all areas and have seen that the more times we can intervene as a positive force in a child's life that perhaps we can decrease everything from the drop-out rate to the incarceration rate. I intend to train to be a voice for those children who are a victim of abuse and neglect that become involved in the court system.”

• “As a result of our session in Lawton/Ft. Sill, I am now working to help integrate soldiers back into civilian life. Looking to see what the gaps are in training and experience with the workforce needs of our business community.”

• “I hope to get more involved in my local community and our state in order to make a difference. I have learned through my LOK experience that each of us can make a difference if we dedicate the time and energy to engage and make our voices heard. I hope to get involved in our local school system.”

After almost three decades of service, the collective talent of Leadership Oklahoma is truly amazing — just think of what we can do working together to expand our effectiveness as leaders. We would like to record how LOK influenced you to take action or accomplish something that has made a positive difference in your community or the state - please share it with me at

Thanks to each of you for being a “Link to Leadership.”


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»Class XXVIII Visits Guymon

Class XXVIII was in Guymon this month to examine issues in Oklahoma agriculture and conservation. Below are some reflections from Class XXVIII members Becky Hodgen and Philip Kaiser:

Robin Roberts Krieger, Class XXIV
2014-2015 Chair, Adult Program Committee

Becky Hodgen, Class XXVIII
Manager, Communications and Brand Development
Groendyke Transport, Inc.

As the year of Class XXVIII nears its end, I would be remiss if I did not marvel at the last nine months. Never have I experienced an instant connection, then bond, with so many individuals whom I am honored now to call close friends. The awareness of and analysis upon some of our state's most pressing issues have proven invaluable, and are only offset by evenings full of belly laughs, and/or words of encouragement and support.

The trip to Guymon and the surrounding Panhandle counties, focusing on Oklahoma's agriculture industry, proved to be a subject which should consume the attention of leaders of Oklahoma. After listening to thoughtful dialogue between our state's top agriculture professionals and advisors , it became paramount for our class to be informed of and educated in our state's agriculture issues, both as to the technique and labor.

Many of our issues blend into federal boundaries, but it is important to understand the complexities of those issues and how they can affect Oklahomans. As consumers and as citizens of a state which relies heavily on agricultural production and exports, it is our responsibility to be educated on an intimate level regarding those issues.
Philip Kaiser, Class XXVIII
Managing Member and President
Cosmo Cafe, Laffa-Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar, Center of the Universe Festival

"Following each LOK session, it always takes me some time to fully process everything I absorbed during the experience. What I most value at this moment from our 2 ½ days spent exploring the Oklahoma Panhandle – discovering dinosaur tracks, the Cimarron Cutoff and some graffiti that may or may not have been left by Coronado - is the opportunity to meet and learn from a community of people who epitomize the term “true grit”.

The inhabitants of the far western part of the state are so fiercely independent they have their own time zone. It took me several moments during the bus tour of Black Mesa to realize that when locals refer to “this country”, they don’t mean the United
States of America; they are talking about their own land and that of their neighbors, cultivated for generations through tremendous hardship.

These are the spirited descendants of those who stubbornly refused to give up, even as droves of others fled west in despair; even though the air was practically unbreathable at times and the ground practically infertile. The current generation continues to struggle to draw subsistence from this harsh country, but using modern knowhow and cutting-edge technology, they are working to maximize yields while conserving water and preventing Oklahoma topsoil from blowing into Texas.

Thanks to this session, modern farming is less of a mystery to me. I can now differentiate between “strip-till” and “no-till” farming, and I apprehend the benefits of a center pivot irrigation system fitted with drop hoses and air induction nozzles delivering precise amounts of water to specific areas based on infra-red moisture analysis and guided by GPS. I also discovered that the entire Oklahoma Panhandle is a Thai-food desert, and had several unexpected revelations while playing “I Never” on the bus on the way out to Guymon.

Though this part of our journey together is nearly ended, I am confident that we as a class will remain lifelong friends, and that we will reach out to one another frequently to collaborate on projects aimed at maintaining positive momentum in our state. I look forward to that."
Click here to see photos from this session.


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»YLOK Class XV

We are pleased to announce YLOK Class XV and their respective high schools. The YLOK program will be Sunday, June 7 through Friday, June 12, 2015.

First Name Last Name High School
Vivian Armitage Heritage Hall
Ashley Atwood Oklahoma Bible Academy
Brayden Baird Perry High School
Natalie Benefield Walters High School
Adrienne Blakey Stillwater High School
Emily Boughan Deer Creek High School
Colton Budy Waynoka High School
Daniel Carpenter Ada High School
Yazmin Castanon Howe High School
Tess Childers Tahlequah High School
Connor Clary Bishop Kelley
Abigail Coates Strother High School
Bryce Consedine Metro Christian
Chris Coronado Southeast High School
Evann Couch Edison Prep
Remington Dean Muldrow High School
Hanna Dillingham Enid High School
Mareyba Fawad Edmond Santa Fe
Rachel Funderburk Edmond North
Allison Gilliss Owasso
Laura Givens Arnett High School
Kate Goetzinger Bishop McGuinness
E.J. Green Millwood High School
Haley Hampton Elgin High School
Tanna Heddlesten Savanna High School
Aubrey Hermen Casady
Connor Hopper Blanchard High School
Ridge Hughbanks Alva High School
Payton Jackson Warner High School
Isha Jhingan Edmond Memorial
Cheryl Kalapura Holland Hall
Erin Kennedy Charles Page High School
Mackenzie Kenney Casady High School
Kaitlyn Kirksey Stillwater High School
Layne Kisling Chisholm High School
Erin Leap Enid High School
SoSo Lee Lawton MacArthur High School
Rafael Lopez Lawton Eisenhower
Grayson Maker Newcastle
Sara Massey Booker T. Washington
Morgan McSpadden Chelsea High School
Katelyn Mee Deer Creek High School
Emily Messimore Verdigris High School
Amy Pasque Norman High School
Meredith Rasnic Norman North
Nick Rinehart El Reno
Kate SaeLim Broken Bow High School
Jake Swanson Cache High School
Bret Szymanski Crossings Christian School
Audrey Vu Classen School of Advanced Studies
Rachel Worth Harrah
Carly Youngberg Clinton High School

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»Community Applications Sought

The foundation of Leadership Oklahoma is its class program, which meets monthly in different communities across Oklahoma. Each year LOK seeks communities who are willing to host a class session. Bringing LOK Class XXIX to your community means you are exposing approximately 50 statewide leaders to your area, and increasing the awareness of the many treasures there.

To host a class program for 2015-2016, a completed community application must be submitted no later than May 8, 2015. Communities will be notified no later than June 1 regarding the selection of host communities. After notification, communities work with the statewide Leadership Oklahoma Program Committee to submit a draft agenda and budget. Responsibilities of a host community and the selection criteria used to determine host communities are attached along with the application. Click here to download the Community Application to host a class session.

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»LOK Ambassadors

LOK Ambassadors
2015-2016 Class and Regional Ambassadors

LOK would like to welcome the new 2015-2016 class and regional ambassadors! A kick-off meeting will be in June for the new fiscal year. This group has some fun and educational member events in the works already.

2015-2017 Term
Class Ambassadors and Officers

II – Ken Moore

IV – Kaye Steele-Harrod

VI –Tony Zahn - Chair

VIII – Richard Cudjo

X – Sammye Cravens

XII – Melinda Johnson

XIV – Sandy Pratt

XVI – Monica Neal

XVIII – Teresa Burkett

XX – Samonia Byford

XXII – Karen Hudson

XXIV – Beth Kerr - Past-Chair

XXVI – Jessica Pfau

Regional Ambassadors:

XXV - Northeast Region – Mikhael Reed

XXI – Southwest Region – Matthew Mollman

2014-2016 Term

Class Ambassadors:

I – Lindy Ritz

III – Tanya Case

V – Phil Kliewer

VII – Nancy Parrott

IX – Pat Andersen-Robertson

XI – Rex Smitherman

XIII – Carolyn Stager

XV – Cristy Morrison – Chair- Elect

XVII – Lana Reynolds

XIX – Kerry Alexander

XXI – Chris Kenney

XXIII – Katie Kimberling

XXV – Molly Helm

Regional Ambassadors:

XVI - Northwest Region – Brent Kisling

XXIV – Southeast Region – Leslie Kutz

If you have ideas for member events, please contact your ambassador or Allyson Carson at 

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»Cushing: The Center of America’s Energy Hub and Its Global Impact

Nancy Parrott, Class VII
Thoughts on Cushing: The Center of America’s Energy Hub and Its Global Impact

Why I go……

Wow! I attended the alumni event in Cushing last week and I remember why I LOVE Leadership Oklahoma! I know exactly why I attend events and pay my dues. It is a great deal - a bargain - and I would not miss it for the world!

Forty-eight people went to Cushing, America’s energy hub, to see and learn about storing and transporting oil. Why Cushing? Why is there controversy about the Keystone pipeline? What are the issues and who are the concerned, competing players? We came knowing a little and left knowing a lot.

As always at LOK events, if only one side was presented, someone in the room intervened with a question or a statement of the opposing view. Remember that from your class? The presenters were experts but, as usual again, class members from all parts of Oklahoma, from varied professions and from multiple life experiences examined together and the collective mind was amazing. The result was an enlightened and excited bunch of Oklahomans. We all left Cushing feeling alive and aware and responsible. No more being confused by stories on T.V.! We knew the real deal!

Click HERE to read the full article!



Brenda Jones Barwick, Tim Munson, Deanna Atkinson


Ford Drummond, Brent Kisling


Malinda Berry Fischer, Wanda Cooke, Judy Turner


Sam Combs, Steve Potts, Rick Huck



Michele Campbell, Bruce Benbrook, Jodi Cline 

Click HERE to see more photos from Cushing.

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»Save the Date!

»2015 Fall Forum

October 20, 2015
Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center

Ted Streuli, Class XXIV, will be chairing the forum this year! If you would like to be on the planning committee, please email Allyson at

The focus this year will be on mental illness and its impact on the many challenges Oklahoma faces today.

Prevention, education and services are needed to make a positive difference. We are in the planning stage right now, so join us if you’d like to be a part of the committee!

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»Deadlines and Upcoming Events

April 17, 2015 Deadline for CEO Applications
May 8, 2015
Deadline for Community Application to Host a Program

Upcoming Events:
June 26, 2015

5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Come and Go Mix & Mingle honoring Dr. Ann Ackerman
Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club

October 20, 2015
Fall Forum - Embassy Suites, Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center

»Did You Know?

Did you know.... You can access the LOK Member Directory from anywhere! At work, in the car, on a plane, in another country… have the ability to get the most current contact information on other LOK members whenever and wherever you are. Click here to review the 3 easy steps to search the membership. Now get ready to start searching!

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»Leaders on the Move

Oklahoma Magazine named Joe Abshere, Class XXVII, and Adam Leaming, Class XXVIII, to their 40 Under 40 Class of 2015.

Alison Anthony, Class XXIII, will be honored by the Tulsa Professional Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications as a "Trending Now" professional during the 42nd Annual Newsmakers Luncheon on May 6

Joe Alexander, Class XII, retired from Primrose Retirement Community.

Jari Askins, Class VI, has been named special adviser to the governor on child welfare and Pinnacle Plan implementation.

Traction, a San Francisco based advertising agency, has named Kristen Bergman, Class XVI, Senior Account Director.

Jeb Boatman, Class XXVIII, has been appointed Site Director and Chief Counsel for Boeing Oklahoma City.

Thomas Boxley, Class XXVI, is now Outreach Liaison for Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Clinic, OU-Tulsa.

Ross Breshears, Class X, retired from AT&T.

Susan Hardy Brooks, Class XXVI, won the Ken Dolez Lifetime Achievement Award at the OKSPRA conference.

Martha Burger, Class I, was selected by the Oklahoma Arts Council to have a photography exhibition in the North Gallery of the State Capitol June 29-August 30. She will exhibit around 20 pieces!

Robin Cauthron, Class XIX, was inducted into OU Law Hall of Fame

Steve Gentling, Class VII, was elected mayor of the City of Guthrie.

The Journal Record has named six LOK Grads to their list of 2015 Achievers under 40: Joe Abshere, Class XXVII, Jonathan Fowler, Class XXVIII, Blu Hulsey, Class XXVI, Adam Leaming, Class XXVIII, Will Merrick, Class XXVII, Isaac Rocha, Class XXVIII, and Hayley Thompson, Class XXVIII.

Becky Hodgen, Class XXVIII, has accepted the position of Director of Strategic Communications for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

BOK Financial has appointed John Higginbotham, Class XXVI, president of the Oklahoma City market, as market CEO, and also announced that Marc Maun, Class XI, has been appointed Tulsa-based BOK Financial's chief credit officer.

Cliff Hudson, Class III, and his wife Leslie received the John and Joy Reed Belt Award from Harding Fine Arts Academy.

Kevin Matthews, Class XXVIII, has won a senate seat in District 11 after running for a vacant seat in a special election.

Mary Mélon, Class XVI, Dr. Marion Paden, Class XXI, and Dr. Ramona Paul, Class VI, (Posthumous) were inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame.

Danny Morgan, Class XVIII, was presented a silver safety award from the Association of Energy Service Companies.

Flintco has named Sandy Pratt, Class XIV, Director of Business Development, OKC.

Craig Rainey, Class XX, is retiring from Williams Companies at the end of the second quarter. Congratulations Craig!

The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City named Meg Salyer, Class VIII, the recipient of the Hand in Hand Award.

The Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma awarded the Life Time Achievement Award to Dr. Paul Sechrist, Class XVI, and the Leadership Award to The Honorable Bill Anoatubby, Class III, at their 2015 Annual Friendship Dinner & Awards Ceremony on April 7th.

The Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) Board of Regents names Dr. Jerry Steward, Class XX, as the 10th president of the college, effective July 2.

The Single Parent Support Network has named Roy Page, Class XX, a 2015 Legacy Awardee.

OU hired Jabar Shumate, Class XIX, as Vice President of University Diversity.

Sonic Corp. has promoted Stephen C. Vaughan, Class, XX, to Executive Vice President of Franchise Operations, Finance and Planning.


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»Member Updates

The 2014-2015 LOK Annual Report and Membership Directory has been mailed to LOK lifetime members and those members who have paid their 2014-2015 membership dues. Below are the membership contact information changes from March 16 to April 15. Click here to see all the member contact updates for the 2014-2015 Directory.

Janienne Bella, Class XXVI
Chief Executive Officer A Chance to Change
5228 Classen Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Main Office Line: 405.840.9000
Direct Office: 405.242.1311
Cell: 405.818.0750

Kristen Bergman, Class XVI
1349 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Thomas Boxley, Class XXVI

Clytie Bunyan, Class XX

Sam Combs III, Class VII
COMSTAR Advisors and COMSTAR Energy
Williams Tower II, Two W. Second St., Suite 150A
Tulsa, OK 74103
Phone: 918-933-4334
Fax: 918-933-5454

Dr. Jeanne Gillert (Dillingham), Class IV
University of Oklahoma - Tulsa
Adjunct Professor

Karen Hudson, Class XXII
Title: President

Jim McAuley, Class XVII
Suzanne McAuley, Class XX
2202 E. 26th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 73070

Xavier Neira, Class XXV
Manhattan Construction Company
2601 NW Expressway, Suite 501W
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Richard Ogden, Class XXVI
Oklahoma County Courthouse
321 Park Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Mark O'Rear, Class XXVIII
Manhattan Construction Company
2601 NW Expressway, Suite 501W
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Dr. Bill Pink, Class XXVII
Grand Rapids Community College
143 Bostwick Ave., NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 48503-3295
Phone: 616-234-3416
Fax: 616-234-3533

Sandy Pratt, Class XIV
Flintco, LLC
2302 S. Prospect
Oklahoma City, OK 73129

Teresa Rose, Class XXVII

Megan Simpson, Class XXVII
Gungoll Jackson, Box & Devoll
101 Park Avenue
Suite 1400
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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